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Can I workout in the gym without the guidance of a trainer?

Q: Is there any particular sequence of exercises that need to be performed at the gym? I want to know this because I go to a gym where there is no instructor. What I do is first the usual warm up exercises followed by exercises for the top of the body - chest and arms and then proceed below - stomach crunches and then some leg and thigh exercises. I follow the top to bottom sequence of exercises. I wanted to know this because of late I am having some back problems which may be linked to improper exercising. I hope you can help me out.

A:I suggest you do upper body exercises thrice a week and lower body exercises thrice a week. This is necessary because your muscles need time to relax an recuperate otherwise in the long run you will be prone to overuses injuries and damage your body. I can give you a few important rules for exercising. They are: 1. Take it slow: Exercise at a comfortable pace. You should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably while exercising. 2. Be regular: Aim for 3-4 workouts a week. 3. Work within your limits: do not overstretch yourself when fatigue sets in. 4. Do warm up exercises: This will prevent stiffness of the muscles, prevent post exercises pain and soreness and will prepare your heart and lungs for that extra effort. 5. Do not fast: Do not exercise on an empty stomach as the sustained effort can cause blood sugar to fall rapidly and lead to nausea, dizziness and fainting. 6. Take enough hydrants: You should take small sips of water during exercise to prevent dehydration as the body loses large amounts of water while exercising in the form of sweat. 7. Cool off exercises: Your body needs time to get back to resting stage. Breathe deeply during cool-off stage. Take a warm shower rather than a very hot or cold one. 8. Be Alert: Be alert to any warning signs of sore muscles or any injury of the back or knees. Stop immediately. Pain radiating to back, neck or arms, with or without sweating, palpitations and breathlessness could be a sign of an incipient heart attack. Stop exercising and consult your doctor immediately.

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